During an interview before the movie's release, Ronny Yu made a confusing comment stating that the film had a "triple ending", similar to Clue (1985). Initially, most believed that film had three different, separate endings, and people would be able to see three different endings in theaters. Most likely one where Freddy wins, one where Jason wins, and a third where neither wins (a draw). This turned out not to be the case.
Ken Kirzinger had to undergo some dental work during filming, but it would have taken too much time to remove his make-up and costume and reapply them. When he arrived at the dentist's office still dressed as Jason (without the hockey mask), people were afraid he was an escaped psychopath, and almost called the police.
According to Robert Englund, his Freddy make-up was so thick that he couldn't tell how hot it was from the fires during filming. When he got in to have his make-up removed, it had bonded itself to his face.
Veteran Friday the 13th actor Kane Hodder, who played the part of Jason Voorhees in the last two "Friday the 13th" movies, and the last two "Jason" movies, offered to reprise the role for this film, but was turned down for the part because New Line Cinema envisioned Jason to be tall and large, so they could create a David and Goliath sort of visual imagery between Freddy and Jason. New Line Cinema felt that Kane Hodder was too short and bulky to be Jason.
The biggest problem that occurred on-set was a fight between Director Ronny Yu and Katharine Isabelle (Gibb), who had signed onto the film on the promise that she would not have to do nude scenes. During the shoot, Yu went back on this promise, and repeatedly tried to pressure her to get naked. (They eventually settled on using a body double.)
Brad Renfro was originally cast as Will, but had to be replaced less than a week before shooting began. Jason Ritter, who actually got the part, had initially tested, but they didn't feel that he was right for the role.
Ken Kirzinger (Jason Voorhees) revealed that during filming the scene of the characters looking for the Hypnocil in the insane asylum, special effect sparks landed on Kirzinger, causing his costume to catch fire. A stuntman for over twenty years, Kirzinger remained calm while stage hands rushed in with fire extinguishers to put him out.
During test and advance screenings, the ending was not added to the film. Instead, the following text appeared: "On August 15th, 2003 see the final sixty seconds and see who has survived...and what is left of them." This is a direct reference to the tagline for the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), which is "Who will survive and what will be left of them?"
(At around one hour and nineteen minutes) Screenwriters Mark Swift and Damian Shannon were disturbed by the homophobic insult Kelly Rowland's character directed at Freddy Krueger, and both writers pointed out in interviews that this was not something they had written in their script.
In the first interview concerning the film, Ken Kirzinger did the whole video interview in Jason's costume wearing the mask, clothes and make-up, in order to make the viewers more confident in him and his loyalty to the character.
This was the first Freddy movie not filmed in the United States, and the filmmakers had to search for a new house that would resemble the famous Freddy Krueger Elm Street house from the first seven "Nightmare" films.
Seventeen scripts were submitted, which eventually turned into one script. The producers decided for some time to go ahead with this script, but changed their minds, as they could not agree with the ideas proposed. Eventually, Damian Shannon and Mark Swift came in and created their own script, which the producers felt were much closer to the Freddy and Jason backstories. Most of the earlier scripts dealt with cults that were attempting to resurrect Freddy and Jason to come back and fight.
In several early drafts of the script, two twists were considered that would have connected the pasts of Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees. One considered twist was that Freddy either raped or had a consensual sexual encounter with Jason's mother, and as a result, had unknowingly fathered Jason. Another twist considered, was that Freddy had worked at Camp Crystal Lake in the past, and had either molested Jason as a child, or was somehow connected to his drowning, being a child murderer, and potential sexual offender, thus giving Jason a motivation to track down and kill Freddy. Both ideas were eventually dropped, as producers felt they were too contrived, and too dark for the film.
Kane Hodder, who had portrayed Jason in the previous four films featuring the character, was keen on reprising the role, and had even been given a copy of the final script. However, Jason was subsequently re-cast, with Hodder claiming he had been kept out of the loop as to why. This decision caused some backlash from "Friday the 13th/Jason" fans. Ronny Yu explained that while Hodder was wonderful in the role, he chose Ken Kirzinger for the part, as Kirzinger was slightly taller and broader than Hodder (thus giving more contrast with the much shorter Robert Englund as Freddy), and because he wanted a slightly different take on the character. He felt that Hodder was somewhat too "aggressive", whereas he wanted Jason to be slower, smoother, and more deliberate in how he was portrayed. Though Hodder was disappointed and angry with the decision, he holds no grudge against Kirzinger, who had actually worked with him on the eighth film as a stunt double.
(At around thirteen minutes) The scene which featured Jason's bed kill was originally rejected by New Line Cinema studio executives, but Screenwriters Mark Swift and Damian Shannon fought hard for filming it. They acted it out on the floor to convince Ronny Yu. After he liked the idea, the scene was filmed, and it turned out to be the biggest reaction of the audience during the test screening.
Ken Kirzinger got the part of Jason when he went to New Line Cinema for an interview for the stunt coordinating job. The producers noticed his physical looks, and asked him to audition for the role of Jason.
This film marks Robert Englund's last official on-screen appearance as Freddy, though he would occasionally appear as the character at conventions and events. In 2014, Englund officially "retired" from the role, after appearing in full costume and make-up at an event marketed as his final portrayal of the character.
While several journalists and television hosts have tried to embarrass Kelly Rowland over her role in this film, she has always responded by saying that the film was a hit, and she enjoyed making it, and therefore has nothing to be ashamed about.
Katharine Isabelle was quite upset with Ronny Yu when she learned that by accepting the role of Gibb, something Yu suggested, she was expected to do a nude shower scene. She refused to do so. Therefore Tammy Morris replaced her as a body double for the scene. There was great friction between Isabelle and Yu for the rest of the shoot, because of this incident.
When the original script proved to be too long, the characters of Tommy Jarvis and Kelly were eliminated. Jarvis was to have been played by Jason Bateman, and Jenny by Katharine Isabelle. The producers felt Isabelle had the makings of a scream queen with a horror-loaded résumé, so her part was then switched with Lauren Lee Smith. So, Katherine Isabelle became Gibb, and Lauren Lee Smith became Jenny, who unfortunately was no longer in the script.
One early version of the script called for the beginning of the film to take place in medieval times, while another called for the beginning to start out at Camp Crystal Lake, with Jason getting arrested. Another script was to have the beginning of the film take place on the eve of the millennium.
Gibb (Katharine Isabelle) is always shown wearing a red baseball hat. This is an reference from Carrie (1976), where P.J. Soles' character always wore a red baseball cap. Isabelle appeared in Carrie (2002).
The original concept started out as Michael Myers vs. Jason, which had been planned since the early 1990s. However, that idea was dropped, because Michael and Jason are too similar. It was decided that the film would be more interesting if the two killers were different.
According to Mark Swift, Producer Robert Shaye seemed a bit more interested in the Freddy side of things, which made a huge elimination in their screenplay (and in the film) from the Crystal Lake/Jason side of things.
Following its release, Monica Keena and Katharine Isabelle had rather choice words about the film, with Keena in particular saying that she thought the screenplay was terrible, and that she only really signed on for the money, and to raise her profile. Isabelle's problems were mostly to do with the fact that she didn't get along with Ronny Yu, who tried to force her to do a nude scene even though she had specifically requested a "no nudity" clause when she signed on.
There were plans for a crossover as early as 1987, but New Line Cinema and Paramount Pictures failed to agree on a story, or what to do with the two franchises. Paramount Pictures had approached New Line Cinema about filming a crossover several years before the latter had gained the licensing rights to "Friday the 13th". At that time, both companies wanted the license to the other's character, so that they could control the making of the film. Negotiations on the project were never finalized, which led Paramount Pictures to make Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988).
Although Ken Kirzinger was chosen to play Jason, many re-shoots were made late in production, and Ken was not available to work. The producers used their next choice for Jason, Douglas Tait. The most notable scene shot with Mr. Tait is the very last scene in the movie, just before the credits.
Screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift were immediately hired by New Line Cinema to write Friday the 13th (2009) after this movie was completed, as producers had been highly impressed by their knowledge of the franchise, and their work on the script for this film.
At one point in time, a sequel titled "Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash" was considered, which would have included Bruce Campbell's iconic cult character "Ash" from the "Evil Dead" trilogy. This was partially inspired by several props from Evil Dead II (1987) (including the "Necronomicon" and "Death Dagger") being used in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) as an Easter Egg. For several reasons (including legality issues over New Line Cinema not owning "Evil Dead" or the rights to the character Ash, and the decision to remake both Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street), the film never came to be, although it was eventually turned into a popular comic book.
During the montage of past Elm Street films Alice can be heard saying "Die, motherfucker!" before impaling Freddy with a pool skimmer. When this scene was first shown in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), her original line was "Where is she?" while the line in the original draft of the script was, "Why don't you just SHUT UP!"
(At around twenty-nine minutes) The principal at Laurie's High School is Robert Shaye, the producer for all of the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" movies. He even has a part as himself in New Nightmare (1994), and a cameo in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991). The DVD has a deleted scene in which he has a couple of lines.
(At around one hour and ten minutes) When Lori is sedated so she can bring Freddy out of Jason's dream, she mutters the limerick "Now I lay me down to sleep...", this line was used by Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) when she entered her own to dream to face off with Freddy for the final time.
The role of Mark was originally written for a Latino actor. However, the Latino actor who had been cast, dropped out shortly before production began. Brendan Fletcher, who had already secured a small role in the film, was suggested as a possible replacement, and after a successful audition, the role was re-written, and Fletcher was cast.
According to Kane Hodder, C.J. Graham, who played Jason in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), had a chance to reprise his role for this film after his agent suggested it to him. He declined the chance, as he was good friends with Hodder, and felt the film's producers were treating him unfairly by re-casting the character.
In one early draft of the script, Jason Voorhees had been captured and restrained by authorities, and would spend much of the film on trial for his countless murders. His defense lawyer would have been the lead character.
One early considered script revolved around a cult of Freddy-worshipping teens called the "Fred-Heads", who sought to resurrect Freddy through a series of sacrifices. Jason would be brought back to life through a sacrifice in order to stop Freddy and the cult.
This is the first A Nightmare on Elm Street/Freddy Krueger film to be shot in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Friday the 13th Part III (1982) was the first in that franchise to feature this aspect ratio. This film and Friday the 13th (2009) would be the last.
The screenwriters (and several other cast and crew members) were strongly against the scene in which Freddy is called a "faggot" by the character Kia, feeling it could be hurtful for any LGBT fans or suporters who saw the film. The line wasn't in the original script, but was rather a spur-of-the-moment improv on-set.
(At around one hour and eleven minutes) In Lori's dream, kids are teasing a young Jason and they place a burlap sack in his head, this is similar to the burlap sack Jason wore in Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981). Jason started wearing the goalie mask in Friday the 13th Part III (1982).
Over the course of the film's long development stage, New Line Cinema reportedly spent around six million dollars on it, ultimately receiving eighteen different drafts of the screenplay, submitted by over a dozen different screenwriters.
Katharine Isabelle was originally cast as Jenny, while Lauren Lee Smith was cast as Gibb. In the re-write, Jenny was eliminated, and all of her lines were given to Gibb. Eventually, Katharine Isabelle took over the part of Gibb, and Lauren Lee Smith was no longer in the film.
There had been multiple efforts to make this movie over the years, but no real progress was ever made, because Freddy belonged to New Line Cinema, and Jason to Paramount Pictures. After Paramount Pictures walked, due to Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)'s disappointing box-office, original Friday Director Sean S. Cunningham swooped in and worked with New Line Cinema's Head of Production Michael De Luca to obtain the Friday the 13th (1980) film rights. Now, there was nothing stopping them from doing this movie, except for the fact that they had no real idea how to bring the characters together in any kind of logical story. Plus, New Line Cinema suddenly had Wes Craven back.
(At around thirty-eight minutes) If you watch carefully when Freddy's head is coming through the wall, you can see what looks like a little alien's head on his forehead. It's probably just a trick of the light, but it is interesting.
All of the actors who portrayed Jason from shortest to tallest, Warrington Gillette 6'1", Steve Dash 6'2", Kane Hodder 6'2", C.J. Graham 6'3", Richard Brooker 6'3", Ted White 6'4", Ken Kirzinger 6'5", and Derek Mears 6'5".
According to the book Slash of the Titans: The Road to Freddy vs Jason, the crossover sequel officially had sixteen screenwriters across ten different versions of the story. This was per the Writer's Guild Arbitration Panel findings. Unofficially, this movie had many more unsolicited treatments and drafts, both internally and externally.
Some early scripts had Freddy pee on the Holy Grail. A boxing scene and a hocky scene. Freddy gets beamed by a satellite ray into the sun. At one point Freddy would have to collect thirteen dream demons to collect his powers. Alice, Jacob, and Tommy were to be main characters. There was suppose to a wall constructed around Crystal Lake to keep people out, and other drafts had the camp being torn down at the end.
After Lori's father catches her and Will after he tells her that he was sent to The Westin Hills psychiatric ward for witnessing Lori's father killing her mother, she demands that he tell her the truth. In A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), after Nancy pulls Freddy's hat out of the dream, she demands that her mother tell her the truth about Freddy Krueger.
This film is unique in that it is a sequel to two different franchises, as well as a prequel to Jason X (2001) Other movies that could be considered combination sequels and prequels are Star Trek (2009) and The Godfather: Part II (1974).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
In the documentary, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010), Screenwriter Mark Swift revealed Kia's original final stand involved her telling Jason she wasn't afraid of him anymore in the way Nancy stood up to Freddy at the end of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), not realizing this would have no effect on him. Freddy then taunted her by saying "Wrong one, bitch" before killing her.
Several endings were considered for the film: Originally shot, was a scene in which Lori and Will begin to have sex for the first time. However, Will starts acting like a maniac and eventually sprouts a Freddy Krueger claw, then proceeds to slash at his girlfriend. This was cut, due to miserable test scores, in which the audience thought the acting was terrible, and asked, "Does this mean Freddy won? Where's Jason? Is this a dream? Is Will turning evil and is now some sort of Son-of-Freddy?" Another ending that was considered had Freddy and Jason battling to the death on the dock. After the explosion, they end up in the fiery lake, and then something strange starts to happen. The water begins to move, churning, and the lake begins to drain. Within the water, there is a hole that has opened at the bottom of the lake bed, glowing red. Freddy tries to swim away, but Jason puts a death lock on his ankle, and they're both dragged down. The next day, Crystal Lake is completely dry, and Lori is reunited with her father. Then they walk down into the dry lake. Dr. Campbell sees Freddy's claw on the ground and he picks it up, vowing to destroy it for good. Then a red and green striped arm bursts through the earth, grabs Dr. Campbell's leg and pulls him down. With one leg buried in the ground, he screams for Lori, but is yanked again, his other leg breaking against his chest at an impossible angle. Then he's gone. Lori claws at the dirt for him, screaming, and then there is a scene that takes place somewhere very dark. Freddy puts his claw back on his hand. He sees Jason near him, machete gleaming. They go at each other, but then, chains shoot out, slicing into both of them. They're separated, struggling to go at each other, when out from the darkness comes Pinhead and he says "Now, what seems to be the problem?" However, New Line Cinema didn't like the idea, because they didn't like the fact that they'd have to buy the rights to use the character, and they thought Pinhead was too low rent. Then there was a similar ending considered in Hell that involved a shot of Satan sitting high atop a stone throne, only eyes and the tips of two horns visible in the darkness. Below it, Freddy and Jason battle in a Gladiator style pit, but that idea was also dropped. There was also another idea of a giant red hand coming out of Crystal Lake at the end of the film, grabbing Freddy and Jason in one enormous palm, and yanking them both down into Hell, but that too was dumped. In the script's final draft, the epilogue ended with Freddy and Jason battling in a dark pit, surrounded by the eyes of a thousand dark demons and a million tortured souls. The writers wanted to suggest that the fight would continue for all eternity, but that idea was also dropped.
At around one hour and five minutes) When Jason is impaled on his own machete, Freddy uses some iron plates to push the machete in deeper. The last three plates that fly through the air form the New Line Cinema logo.
According to Ken Kirzinger, the hardest thing he went through for performing as Jason was sinking into the lake. Ronny Yu shot the scene in a tank, which was highly chlorinated, and had debris to make it look like lake water. Ronny Yu needed the close-up of Ken's left eye, and needed him to sink into the water keeping his eye open. Then also he couldn't breathe because it would be visible on film. So Kirzinger was lying on top of the water and had to let himself sink down to the bottom of the tank without breathing, keeping his left eye open. Kirzinger really held his breath, and the chlorine in the water burned both of his eyes.
One unused script featured Jason driving a Subaru, Jason helping the main characters, the final fight between the two taking place in a burning mall, Freddy killing a girl by turning her into a giant lobster and flash-steaming her, Jason killing a man by shoving a shotgun up his rear, a Freddy-worshipping cult called the Fred Heads, lizard-people living in the Dream World, Jason being bought back to life with the heart of the final girl's dead boyfriend (also coincidentally named Jason), and Freddy summoning Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, and John Wayne Gacey to aid him in the fight against Jason.
At around twenty-one minutes) The call letters of the news station shown on the television in the hospital are KRGR, a reference to Freddy Krueger. It is also the name of the radio station that Glenn (Johnny Depp) was listening to right before he died in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).
At around one hour and twenty-four minutes) The way Jason looks at his hand after Freddy cuts off his fingers is a nod to Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), when Trish stabs him in the hand between his fingers. He stops what he's doing, and looks at his hand the same way.
Ronny Yu originally turned down the directing job, because the script didn't indicate who won at the end. He agreed to take the job when Robert Shaye told him he could make that decision himself. Ronny Yu then came up with the idea for Jason to hold Freddy's head at the end. Robert Shaye agreed, but wanted Freddy to wink at the audience.
The following scenes were cut from the film: An alternate opening scene which has Billy, a camper, telling Heather, a counselor, that he had a bad dream. He asks her to stay with him until he can fall asleep again, but she refuses and leaves. She goes skinny dipping, but hears something and gets scared so she runs back to the cabin. The door is locked, however, so she asks Billy to open it for her, but he gives her the finger.(Part of this scene can be seen in the theatrical cut.) Trey telling Gibb that the sheets are probably filthy, so she should just pull back the comforter and they'll lie on top of it. A scene at the institution where a guard shines a flashlight into a patient's eyes to see if he'll react. Lori's father picking her up from the police station. Lori scratching paint off of her front door with her keys in a dream sequence. Gibb at school yelling "Stop staring at me!" in the hallway. This is followed by Mark and Will arriving at the school looking for Lori. Principal Shaye trying to convince Mark and Will to return to the institution. Lori, Kia, and Gibb leaving for the party. Lori, Kia, and Gibb arriving at the party, followed by shots of the party itself. A broken bodied Trey walking towards Gibb in a dream sequence. Mark, in a dream sequence, sees his brother commit suicide on his computer monitor. Mark throwing up eels. Lori, Kia, Freeburg, Linderman, Will, and the cop splitting up into two groups to look for the Hypnocil. Linderman apologizing to Kia for what he said to her at the party. Will telling Lori that if she promises to come back, he promises to never leave her again. A bit more of the Freddy and Jason fight inside the burning cabin. Lori utters the lines "Freddy vs. Jason. Place your bets." (Part of this scene can be seen in the trailer and television spots.) Kia telling Linderman that he better be there when she gets back so she can kick his ass in case he tells anyone that she kissed him. She then kisses him. An alternate ending in which Will and Lori make love. Will then starts to choke Lori and his right hand turns into Freddy's glove.
When Jason throws the body of Deputy Stubbs through a window to scare Lori, Will, and Kia, this is a nod to Friday the 13th (1980) when Mrs. Voorhees threw the corpse of Brenda through a window to scare Alice, Friday the 13th Part III (1982), when Jason threw the body of Rick through a window to scare Chris, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), when Jason threw the corpse of Rob through a window to scare Trish and Tommy and Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), and when Roy threw the body of George through a window to scare Pam.
In one of the original endings, Freddy and Jason continue their battle in Hell, when suddenly Pinhead from the Hellraiser film franchise steps out of the shadows and separates them. He then calmly asks, "What seems to be the problem, gentlemen?" This was scrapped, due to licensing issues.
Because the ending had to be re-shot, and Ken Kirzinger was not available, Douglas Tait was cast in the role of Jason. His few days on the film were largely spent underwater. The crew discovered that when Tait was submerged, his clothes would cling to him and make him look less bulky. Tait had to be bulked up with pads and extra clothing. He also had to walk along the lake floor, so he had to hold onto a rope tied under the water.
The scene where Freddy uses Trey's dead body to lure Gibb into his boiler room, is similar to A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), when he used Tina's dead body to lure Nancy into his boiler room. In the original, Nancy escapes by burning her arm on the pipes. In this one, Gibb is not so lucky.